Bold. Beautiful. Bespoke.
Story and Photos By Meda Kessler
Fort Worth attorney Elizabeth Parmer slips into her new wool-silk blend suit and high heels and stands in front of a three-way mirror.
We’re at the studio of Franklin & Anthony, a Fort Worth custom clothier, and Elizabeth is getting her final fitting. She breaks out into a big smile as she turns from side to side. She gestures broadly with her arms to check the jacket’s fit: “This is how I talk in the courtroom.
“I love this so much,” she says as designer/owner Franklin Moss, pincushion on wrist, makes a few adjustments to the jacket and waistband. Franklin and Elizabeth both come from political families in Fort Worth: Her father is Hugh Parmer, onetime mayor of the city and a state representative; his father, Frank senior, is a former city councilman.
Like almost everyone else, Elizabeth has been conducting business during the pandemic remotely, but is getting ready to step back into the courtroom. And she wanted this pinstriped navy fabric. “I saw Franklin wearing a similar suit on social media and said, ‘That’s what I want.’ ” A repeat customer — she had purchased a couple of custom suits as gifts, including one for her brother — Elizabeth also is jazzed by the custom jacket lining. Franklin collaborates with the client to find a fabric — or create one — that complements the suit and the personality of its owner.
A few weeks later, we’re at her downtown Fort Worth office. Franklin has the finished suit (he’s also making her a waistcoat). Elizabeth pairs it with a button-up shirt with a subtle stripe and a vintage Chanel pendant on a chunky silver chain. She finishes the look with yellow reptile-high heels. Franklin nods approvingly. “It’s a big part of what I do,” he says. “I understand that your body tells a story, and I know how to read it to make clothes fit. I want to make you feel good and look good no matter your size or shape.”
Franklin, 38, admits he had a thing for clothes even when he was young. “I learned to sew in middle school thanks to home ec classes. And in high school, I was voted ‘best dressed’ even though my look then was basically extra-large Polo shirts and wide-legged jeans.”
At Prairie View A&M, he wore sweats pretty much on a daily basis. After graduating with a business management degree, he began to gravitate toward more creative fields: music and fashion. “I worked as a stylist at fashion shows and was able to network and meet people.”
He worked for a custom clothier in Dallas on the business side, but again, made connections with tailors and fabric manufacturers.
In 2015, he launched Franklin & Anthony. Today, it’s his full-time job, and he is a walking billboard for his designs. He’s not shy about wearing color and bold patterns or mixing both. In fact, Franklin’s signature — along with his full beard — is a statement-making houndstooth. But we love his three-piece camo design and the fact that he works with wide-wale corduroy. While men make up most of his clients, he likes designing for women. “They appreciate quality and fit,” says Franklin.
Others have noted his bold spirit and infectious style, as Franklin’s also an influencer and brand ambassador. In 2017, he formed a partnership — and became friends with — Matthew Miller, a fashion illustrator more well known as Sunflowerman. Miller added his own flair to Franklin’s brand, including custom illustrations for suit linings and pocket squares. The two traveled to Europe together in 2020 to check out the fashion scene. “We ate and drank well, met lots of interesting people and showed them that Texas men have style,” says Franklin.
Continued success led to the June 2020 opening of the by-appointment-only studio he purchased in east Fort Worth. Franklin’s atelier is part showroom, part clubhouse. There’s space for meetings as well as casual gatherings. Clients can enjoy a sip from Franklin’s prized whiskey stash. His current favorite is Uncle Nearest, an award-winning small-batch brand out of Tennessee named for an enslaved man who also was the first-known African-American distiller. Franklin’s other drink of choice is coffee, but for that, he’ll make a run to nearby Black Coffee, owned and run by his wife, Mia.
At the coffee shop, Franklin seems to slow down his hectic pace a bit. He helps Mia unload inventory and jokes around with the baristas. We get a chance to talk about his other passion, his nonprofit CommUnity Frontline, which started in 2016. “It’s a brotherhood of those who want to address and solve problems in the community,” says Franklin. “It could be as simple as making sure someone’s lawn gets mowed or their electricity bill gets paid. We’re pushing for conversations about our relationship with police and giving people a forum to voice their opinions and frustrations. We’re helping make connections for those who want to do something. We’re seeing more people get involved, and how we could make a difference.”
Franklin’s bespoke business is growing, too, and so are his dreams. “There might be a shop in the future,” says Franklin, who’s open to the right opportunity. “Until then, I keep moving forward.”